This article was originally published on Digital-Adoption.com

A product adoption strategy is essential to ensuring that customers adopt new products successfully and become loyal long-term customers.

Software implementation is an important part of the adoption process, but it is only one part.


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To maximize software productivity and value, it is necessary to create a strategy that overcomes common obstacles to adoption, such as:

  • Employee resistance. Employees often resist change and new ideas. There are many causes for this resistance, such as the fear of incompetency or anxiety caused by organizational restructuring
  • Software complexity. In the modern enterprise, SaaS platforms are the tools of the trade. Though these tools offer a great deal of functionality, they are also quite complex. This complexity presents a barrier for employees who must learn them, which is why adoption strategies must be designed to streamline training and simplify complexity.
  • Information overload. Information overload and cognitive overload make it more difficult to learn new things. The more effort that people have to expend when learning new products and workflows, the more likely they are to become overwhelmed and burned out. Product adoption strategies should be built around design principles that minimize cognitive load, such as user-centered design.

As with any other business process, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to minimizing these problems.

There are, however, a few important areas that should be focused on when developing any product strategy. 

Product Adoption Strategy

Below are seven important areas to emphasize when developing a product adoption strategy:

User Productivity

User productivity should be one of the primary goals of any product adoption effort.

The more productive users are, they will be more…

  • Engaged
  • Satisfied
  • Loyal

Productivity also corresponds with lower confusion and its natural consequence, frustration.

Proficiency

Proficiency is a prerequisite to productivity, which is why so many digital adoption strategies and product adoption strategies emphasize the importance of training.

An adoption strategy that is built around training should attempt to…

  • Maximize user proficiency
  • Accelerate learning curves
  • Provide training that is personalized, interactive, and contextual

To improve proficiency, it is important not only to follow a strategy that focuses on proficiency, but also to implement modern training tools, such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs).

Engagement 

Engagement refers to how enthusiastically and proactively people use a product or service.

It is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important metrics to track in a wide variety of fields, from marketing to the workplace.

Generally, engagement is tracked by monitoring user activity, such as:

  • The frequency of use
  • Time spent using a product or feature
  • The number of active users during a specific time period

Engagement is one of the most important areas to focus on during the product adoption process, but it is only one aspect of the overall product experience.

Experience

The user experience includes, but is not limited to, engagement. Though many confuse the two, they are distinct.

A user’s product experience covers the entire set of interactions that occur between a person and a product.

Product experiences include several stages within the user journey, including…

  • Marketing and sales
  • Customer support and technical support
  • Onboarding and training

The experience of adopting and using a product impacts a variety of other important user metrics, such as:

  • Sentiment
  • Productivity
  • Proficiency

Since the user experience plays such an important role in the adoption process, it should be prioritized, monitored, and improved upon.

User-Centered Design

User-centered design, data-driven practices, and personalization are all useful approaches to take when developing the user experience.

  • Personalized
  • Data-driven
  • Responsive 

Centering adoption efforts around the user experience is a critical part of any product adoption strategy, but only insofar as they support an organization’s goals.

For that reason, it is equally important to develop programs that support top-down organizational processes, in addition to processes that support individual workers.

Workflows and the Workplace

When a product adoption strategy is being designed for a workplace and its employees, then it should prioritize the efficiency of the workplace and its workflows.

The efficiency of the digital workplace depends, after all, on how efficiently an organization can adopt new products and services.

Areas to focus on include:

  • Integrating fragmented workflows
  • Unifying technology stacks
  • Developing digital skills that span multiple platforms
  • Creating permanent micro-training functions that support ongoing skills development

All of the points mentioned above, such as user-centered design and the user experience, should work in concert with a strategy built around improving the workplace.

And, when these strategic aims are all supported universally, organizations will be able to realize one of the ultimate aims of product adoption: greater software ROI.

Software ROI

A product’s real-world value depends heavily on how well it is adopted.

Namely, it depends on…

  • Users’ skill skills
  • How engaged and productive users are
  • How fully the product is utilized
  • The effectiveness of product training
  • The user experience

In short, a product’s value and ROI depend upon all of the strategic points covered above.

Since ROI is the bottom-line aim for many product adoption efforts, all of the aforementioned points should be designed to maximize that ROI.

For this reason, value and ROI should be the principles that guide an adoption strategy.